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Premises Liability: Slip & Fall

Premises liability is when you are hurt on another person’s property due to the owner’s or manager’s negligence. Many of these cases are slips, trips, and falls. Trip and falls often result in serious injuries, such as fractures, broken bones, head trauma, all the way up to death. If you are injured in a slip, trip, or fall due to an unsafe condition, you have the right to bring a claim for your injuries including pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity and future medical bills.

Despite the negative connotation often attached to trip and fall legal claims, the fact is most falls are preventable and thousands are seriously injured each year because of negligent property management. When property owners recognize fall risks and use basic care these serious injuries are prevented. That is why laws throughout the nation require trip and fall hazards be recognized and repaired. If a property owner does not, he or she has been negligent in their management, maintenance, repair or upkeep, and is responsible for the injuries suffered.

Negligence in slip and fall cases is not always obvious, so insurance companies rarely acknowledge responsibility to an unrepresented person. The insurance company will try to convince victims the property owner is not at fault, or that their injuries are exaggerated. If your slip and fall injury is serious, you should look for a lawyer quickly. It is in your best interest to work with experienced counsel, as you can be pitted against hostile insurance companies and uncooperative property owners.

The Spokane slip, trip, and fall lawyers at Sweetser Law Office will investigate property conditions, document lost income, obtain and organize all of your medical records and bills, deal with the insurance company’s tactics, and prove your case at trial if necessary. Sweetser Law Office has years of experience obtaining compensation for the injured, and a proven record of results in slip and fall cases. Most settlements do not require court and many injury settlements are reached without going to trial.

What to Do if You Have Been Injured in a Trip, Slip or Fall

  • Seek medical attention. Follow all doctor’s orders.
  • Write down witnesses contact information.
  • Obtain names of owners and managers of the property.
  • Report the injury, and insist on an incident report.
  • Take photos of unsafe conditions, from your viewpoint at the time of fall.
  • Save your footwear and clothing.
  • Do not sign documents or speak with insurance companies.
  • Contact premises liability attorneys at Sweetser Law Office.

Slips, Trips & Falls Are the Second Leading Cause of Unintentional Injuries

Slip, trip and fall injuries are more common than most people think. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department each year. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age. Thus, falls represent a growing health and safety issue due to poor infrastructure, lack of management, and cheap upkeep.

For example, statistics are kept by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Safety Council, both non-profit organizations designed to promote safety and the prevention of injuries:

  • Over one million people a year suffer serious injuries from trip, slip or fall in the United States
  • Approximately 17,000 people are killed every year as a result trip, slip or falls.
  • More people are disabled from injuries due to falls than motor vehicle accidents
  • Only automobile accidents rank above trip, slip and fall for deaths in the United States
  • Slips and falls account for more fatal injuries for people older than 65 than any other events.
  • 25% of serious injuries in the workplace are a result of trip, slip and fall incidents.
  • Trip, slip and falls kill more workers than any other cause of deaths in the workplace
  • A trip, slip and fall injury will cost the injured person an average of nearly $30,000

Falls are unexpectedly occurring at grocery stores, department stores, apartment complexes, shopping centers, residential or commercial establishments, hotels, restaurants, bars, construction sites, parking lots, sidewalks, stairways, ramps, walkways, aisles, passageways, public parks, and even doctor offices.

The statistics show that a majority of falls happen from hidden or invisible obstructions on a seemingly flat surface. The most common causes are slippery floor surfaces (e.g., highly polished, wet or greasy), or a small and unassuming object that catches a person’s foot (e.g., cracks in the floor, electrical leads). Injuries are often associated with the ankle, knee, back, or neck. Limbs can frequently be fractured or dislocated (such as when the victim tries to break his fall by extending an arm). Moreover, because victims are not immediately aware when they have suffered permanent soft tissue injuries, which are not generally measurable with traditional equipment like X-rays, many undiagnosed long-term problems significantly affect these individual's quality of life down the road.


For information on slip and fall statistics, visit the Slips, Trips & Falls Prevention Training page for additional data.


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